Reading Club 2000: Mang Nanie’s “Library without rules” continues to inspire

When you come across the phrase “Aklatan sa Bangketa” or Mang Nanie’s Library, for sure that would be the Reading Club 2000 nook located in Balagtas Street, Makati City, and it’s no ordinary library.

Why? Because it’s a library with no rules and one which allows its readers to bring home their chosen books — even without a library card. Moreover, they may choose to return the books or not; whichever pleases them. All you need to say is “Thank you, Mang Nanie.”

Image via World Remit’s Facebook post

Who’s Mang Nanie

The second among five siblings, Hernando Guanlao or “Mang Nanie” is the heart behind the “Aklatan sa Bangketa” which is actually an open library that he established in 2000; hence the name Reading Club 2000.

He had learned to value books since he was a young boy and undertands that many have no access to good reading materials. Thus, looking back inspired him to come up with this kind of library; that he may be able to share his love for reading to others as well, especially to the youth.

Mang Nanie started from their family’s crude collection of old books and displayed those on makeshift shelves just outside their ancestral home. The library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to whoever wants to read or do some research.  They can even take the books home for free! However, Mang Nanie’s only request is for the borrowers to pay it forward by resharing the books to others once they are done reading. Amazing request, right?

GMA’s Saksi shared this video in 2012:

A Simple Act of Kindness Creates an Endless Ripple

If you think it’s not a wise idea to allow readers to take home any book/s, well, worry not because according to Mang Nanie, “for one book that comes out, ten books arrive in its place.”

This is because instead of lessening, the books have multiplied over the years and have occupied the entire front and half of their home. His simple act of kindness has caught the attention of many, and more books just kept on coming since.

After a decade, Mang Nanie’s advocacy has expanded farther. As more books continue to arrive at his house, he started sharing his books to communities in and out of Metro Manila so there would be more readers.

An Australian librarian, Jason Cordi, shared boxes of books and personally came over to meet Mang Nanie, as featured in a story shared by World Remit via Facebook. He so admired the reading advocacy started by Mang Nanie.

Image via World Remit’s Facebook post

Mang Nanie is now 66, but apparently, he has no plans of retiring from his life’s purpose.

In a video shared by BBC World Service via their Facebook page, he said: “No one has ever become poor in giving books. So I will carry on.”

Click the image to watch the video shared by BBC World Service

Many commenters have expressed their gratitude for being valued patrons of his free library. One is particularly heartwarming.

“Dito kami kumukuha ng mga reference namin kila mang Nanie usually history books. Thnx, mang Nanie. Teachers na po kami ngayon.”

{This is where we get references, at Mang Nanie’s, usually history books. Thanks. We’re now teachers.]

Wow! Who knows how many more lives have been changed for the better because of this free library which will be turning two decades old after a couple of years?